Reynardism is a thing, people. At least it is a thing here in Chiswick, where wild foxes roam free (and I’m not just talking about our family).
Lest you think this is all fun and games, let me direct your attention to this article from the Telegraph. There are an estimated 10,000 wild foxes skulking* around the streets of London. They rifle through trash, terrorize pets and have made brazen attacks on small children. Yes, you read that right.
“Nine-month-old twins Lola and Isabella Koupparis were hospitalized with face and arm injuries after a fox had entered their North London bedroom in 2010. Last year four-week old Denny Dolan needed to have his finger reattached after he was bitten by a fox near Bromley.”
Concerned citizens are petitioning politicians, keeping their pets inside, and hiring snipers. Yes, snipers. Regular men are taking to the streets, guns in hand, on a mission to kill. The fox hunt is back, and it’s not about rich white guys on horses anymore.
It is against this backdrop that we arrived in Chiswick, knowing that my dad’s cousin – our host for the school term – not only loved these foxes, but fed them. From the front stoop. Leftover bones from our roast chicken dinner? “The soft bits might make some quadrapeds I know quite happy.” Package of cornish pasties sitting on the dining room table? Not for human consumption. In his mind, and the minds of many others, the foxes were here first. They are only claiming what is theirs. And who wouldn’t enjoy a cornish pasty on the stoop of a beautiful brick home in Chiswick?
So far we haven’t seen any foxes, although the food always disappears. We did manage to hear them during some time change insomnia our first week here. Theirs is a kind of high-pitched yipping that sounds like a raspy-voiced woman screaming for help, or wailing at a funeral. It’s not that pleasant, actually.
We’re not that worried about the foxes, and I tend to agree with our host about the whole they-were-here-first situation. That said, I think we’ll keep our windows shut while we sleep just for now.
*Skulk – group of foxes, also known as a leash.